Stocks fall at open - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Stocks fall at open

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock prices are lower in early trading.

  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 170 points in today's early going.

  The Nasdaq Composite Index is off 32 points and the Standard-and-Poor's 500 Stock Index is down 20 points.

  Global markets have seen big declines ahead of Wall Street's opening bell.

  News that the U.S. Treasury plans to begin distributing money to major banks this week helped to lift stock futures off their morning lows.

  A surge in the Japanese yen underscores investor nervousness about the prospects for slower economic activity.

  Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average dropped to its lowest close in 26 years amid concerns that the stronger yen will hurt Japanese exports.

  The Nikkei fell 6.4 percent to its lowest level since October 1982, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 12.7 percent, its lowest finish in more than four years and its biggest single-session drop since 1991.

  The seven leading industrial nations issued a statement warning about the "recent excessive volatility" in the value of the yen.

  The G-7 said it would "cooperate as appropriate," stirring speculation of an orchestrated intervention to help stabilize currency markets.

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